Increased cold sensitivity is a normal part of aging, but it can also be a sign of a health problem. Older adults have a thinner layer of fat under the skin, making them more susceptible to cold. Conditions like diabetes, peripheral artery disease and kidney disease can restrict blood flow and lower body temperature.
When an elderly adult’s blood is not properly circulating, the temperature of their extremities tends to fluctuate. The blood vessels in those areas constrict in efforts to retain body heat, which results in cold hands and feet.
Improving Senior Circulation Walking, swimming, and even heel-toe exercises while watching television — perfect for easing in the extremely sedentary — are ideal ways to give the circulatory system a boost. Just remember to start slow and work your way up when encouraging seniors to adopt new fitness routines.
Aging causes a natural decrease in metabolic rate, which means seniors’ bodies might be unable to generate enough heat to maintain a “normal” temperature of 98.6 degrees. Slower circulation can make it difficult to retain heat throughout the body. This could be due to aging or medication side effects.
A. Two of the most common causes of cold feet are decreased circulation in the extremities or a problem with nerve sensation. One cause of decreased circulation is atherosclerosis, where arteries are narrowed by fatty deposits and impede blood flow in the limbs.
Symptoms of Poor Blood Circulation
Six Tips for Improving Blood Circulation in Legs
Use a Bed Wedge and Pillows In addition to regularly elevating your legs throughout the day, you should also consider using a pillow to raise them while you sleep. When lying down, adding a pillow under your feet (for back sleepers) or between your knees (for side sleepers) can help keep blood flowing.
Explain why elderly individuals with poor circulation would have a greater risk of suffering heat exhaustion or heatstroke. This increases blood flow near the surface of the body and allows the heat from the core of the body that is carried by the blood to leave the body via radiation, convection, and evaporation.
Like taking a warm bath, drinking a hot cup of water increases blood circulation through arteries and veins. More efficient blood flow can have benefits ranging from improved blood pressure to decreased risk of heart disease.
People with dementia can be especially at risk when the temperature drops below 8C. There are many reasons for this. As a result of communication difficulties they may be unable to explain that they are cold or they may, in fact, not recognise it themselves.
Lack of vitamin B12 and iron deficiency can cause anemia and lead you to feel cold. Good sources of B12 are chicken, eggs and fish, and people with iron deficiency may want to seek out poultry, pork, fish, peas, soybeans, chickpeas and dark green leafy vegetables.
For an older person, a body temperature of 95°F or lower can cause many health problems, such as a heart attack, kidney problems, liver damage, or worse. Being outside in the cold, or even being in a very cold house, can lead to hypothermia. 5
People with heart failure may find that they often feel cold in their arms, hands, feet, and legs (the extremities). This happens because the body is circulating most of the available blood to the brain and other vital organs to compensate for the failing heart’s inability to pump enough blood to the entire body.
A person with poor circulation will often struggle to get enough warm blood to their extremities, and may complain of cold hands and cold feet frequently. Poor circulation can have a variety of causes. Living a sedentary lifestyle or sitting at a desk all day may reduce circulation to the legs and cause cold feet.
Feeling cold is most often due to actually being in a cold environment. In some cases, such as with infections, you may feel cold despite being quite warm. Other reasons for feeling cold include hypothyroidism, anemia, bacterial or viral infection, and hypothermia.